Thanks for another year of reading and discussions about books. It’s been grand! And I have no doubt there will be plenty of reading in 2017 once again, judging by my very long TBR pile and multiple lists. I’m sure it’s the same for you. Every New Year I look at my bookshelf and make a resolution to read all the books that I own that I haven’t even read yet…maybe this year I’ll succeed! I can always hope, although placing holds at the library is so irresistible. It did get me thinking about bookshelves…
One of my favourite things is being a bookshelf detective, especially when I’m in a stranger’s home and have no other clues to go by, making deductions based on the collections of books that I see… Is there more commercial than literary fiction? More fiction than non-fiction? Are there bestsellers or more obscure titles? Does the space look dusty and musty or has it been recently cleaned and culled to create space for newer titles? Are there some obvious ‘his’ and ‘hers’ choices? Any children’s books? Are there clues to a vocation or an ancestry, or hobbies, or travel destinations? If someone examined my own bookshelves, what would they conclude about me?
Our house has several libraries of books with different foci: children’s books in the guest room, professional books in the office, a sewing library in my quilting room, and of course a collection of cookbooks in the kitchen. There’s mostly fiction on a built-in staircase shelf which houses dog-eared favourites as well as new books I’m longing to get to. Since we’ve moved many times, the books we have are the survivors. Many of the fiction books we’ve read have been passed on and the non-fiction keepers are kept more for perspective than information. The absence of a set of encyclopedias is notable in this computer age.
Our living room bookshelf pictured above, has the most variety and says the most about us as a family. There are books on countries and cultures where we have lived or travelled to, hobbies like motorcycling and hiking, humour, self-help, faith, biography, and family photo albums. As far as fiction goes, there’s plenty of volumes that I haven’t read yet because the TBR pile beside my bed was getting tall enough to be lethal! And last but certainly not least, the most needed book companion item perched on the wooden nose—the now necessary pair of reading glasses!